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News
March 7, 2005

U.S. Chamber: California 45 in State Legal Rankings

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) today released its Harris Interactive 2005 State Liability Systems Ranking Study, which shows California ranked 45 in legal fairness, having risen in the poll since last year.

“Governor Schwarzenegger and the people of California took a major step toward improving their state’s legal climate by passing Proposition 64 last year and ending ‘shakedown lawsuits’,” said Thomas J. Donohue, Chamber President and CEO. “Now they must vigorously defend against plaintiffs’ bar efforts to roll back that reform, and ensure city and district attorneys apply the law as intended.”

Proposition 64 was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November 2004. It amended Section 17200 of the California Business and Professions Code to require that private lawyers filing a lawsuit have an actual client who has been harmed. Some plaintiffs’ attorneys are now trying to circumvent Proposition 64 by filing client-less cases under contingency fee contracts with public prosecutors. They have also filed a ballot initiative that would restore their ability to file client-less lawsuits against prescription drug makers.

“Employers are drawn to states with a fair and balanced legal system,” said Donohue. “Proposition 64 was a great first step toward balancing California’s system, but now plaintiffs’ lawyers are trying to undo that progress.”

The ILR/Harris Interactive survey of more than 1,400 senior corporate attorneys, now in its fourth year, is the preeminent standard by which companies, policymakers and the media judge the legal fairness of states.

The mission of the Institute for Legal Reform is to make America’s legal system simpler, fairer and faster for everyone. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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